My Trek to the Capitol

Amanda Carpenter

1/20/2009 8:53:34 AM - Amanda Carpenter
The pictures you are seeing on TV of the massive crowds at the inauguration are not exaggerated.

I left my house this morning at 5:30am to see how close I could get to the Capitol from my Northern Virginia apartment. It's almost five miles exactly. Luckily, I had a couple of friends to make the trip with me. Two friends of mine drove all the way from Indiana yesterday to come see the inauguration so we got up early, bundled up, slugged down some coffee and made our way. (And, yes, it was cold! I bundled up in all of my ski-gear, snowpants and all, to stay toasty warm. I may have looked like a fool in my wildprint, puffy pants, but who cares!)

I plotted a route that took us around Roosevelt Island, over the Roosevelt Bridge, through the Lincoln Memorial and the WWI Memorial and over the Washington Monument hill before arriving on the National Mall.

Here is my photo tour!

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This picture, yes, is not great. But, it was before 6am. If you look closely, you can see it's the Lincoln Memorial. People were already nabbing seats on the steps before dawn--hours before the festivities were scheduled to begin. And, keep in mind this is miles from the Capitol.

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Spots by the Jumbotrons were especially valuable.

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It looked like many people camped out overnight. This couple was near the WWII Memorial. There was a person underneath that pile of blankets.

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Lots of volunteers were handing out flags.

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These are my friends, Drake and Amanda. They just got engaged and were having a great time. We staked them out a place by a tree (to lean up against) for the long wait. I said goodbye to them here to go take more pictures and walk back home to watch the Big Speech on TV.

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There was TONS of security.

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This was the very closest I got to the Capitol. About three blocks away. These guys weren't letting anyone in!

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This is obviously CNN's Campaign 2008 Bus's last stop.

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For some reason, any kind of winter gear with Obama written in sequins was VERY popular.

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Obama blankets were also a hit.

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These were people coming in down 17th Street from the Metro stations.

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Notice the "Barackwurst" for sale at one of the refreshment stands. $8.00! I didn't get one.

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Walking back home, the White House seemed strangely empty. It was completely blocked off from Constitution Avenue.

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"My puppy Wiki was giving me lots of quizzical looks after I got home as I was peeling off all my layers of clothes to start downloading pics!